For October, it just seems right to get the month rolling with some zombies. Not just any zombies, but Marvel Zombies. Why? It’s fantastic, it’s crazy, and most of all, it grosses me out. Seriously! I’ve always had this innate fear of zombies, or moreover being eaten alive. That just wouldn’t feel right, you know? Having someone’s teeth nibble on you like a snack, or if they’re really hungry, like you’d tear into steak. Just imagine all that flesh tearing taking place. Blood, guts… Ugh. Without further adieu, and before I toss my cookies, I bring to you the review for Marvel Zombies: Dead days.
Ok, so we all know about Marvel Zombies by now. If you don’t, you’ve been living under your stack of back issues for a lot longer than I have. In the original run of our flesh eating super heroes and villains, we come in at the very end of a climactic battle between none other than Magneto and the zombies. That in itself left one major question unanswered… “What the heck happened before all this?” Well, Dead Days answers just that, and a few more questions.
With Dead Days, we start off with Spider-Man swinging furiously back toward his SoHo apartment where Aunt May and Mary Jane wait. Spidey’s been bitten, and it doesn’t take long before they all realize that Spidey’s days are numbered. By page 2, Mary Jane is being digested, and Aunt May is soon to be the next meal. Meanwhile, on the other side of town all hell is breaking loose.
I really like how this issue progresses. We get to see some of our favorite heroes make a stance against the zombies. We see the X-Men trying to save the mansion and the New Mutants from becoming snacks. We watch Nova try to reason with a zombified Spider-Man while Daredevil pleads with Nova to kill the wall crawler. We also see how Nick Fury (you knew he’d be one of the last to live) collect as many of the super heroes and villains that he could to make one last stand against the zombies. We watch heroes fight valiantly, but most of all, we watch them get torn apart. Literally.
Robert Kirkman is a master storyteller when it comes to zombies. Where his work on the Walking Dead is more grounded in how we would react to a zombie apocalypse, here I think he’s just trying really hard to gross us, the readers, out. It works on me. I really enjoy how he can write them as these nearly mindless creatures who must tear into the first living thing they find, and then on the next panel, write them with emotion. For example, when all the Avengers are busy tearing the citizens of New York apart, Colonel America screams for them all to stop, almost begging them to realize what they’ve done, and to try and fight it. That is great storytelling at it’s finest. He is able to pull it off in true Marvel fashion, and not make it look hokey. Of course this story is meant to be violent, mindless, and blood splattering, but if you can’t put believable emotion into the mix, you’ve just got another blood filled comic with no story. Kirkman makes you feel for those that survived the initial attack. He makes you want them to win, but we all know they can’t. It wouldn’t be a good zombie book if the zombies were beaten, after all.
Normally, I don’t like artists who try to emulate artists from the golden age of comics, but here it seems to fit perfectly. I don’t think this issue, let alone the series, could have made it as far as it did without Sean Phillips art. His style reminds me very much of Marvels early days with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. It feels a little stiff at times, but that gives it more appeal. With the help of the colors and inks, the artwork is very vibrant and detailed. I also have to comment on the cover. What Marvel Zombie book would be complete without a cover by Arthur Suydam! His work is amazing. Amazing! Taking the cover from X-Men #1 and turning it into this is fantastic. Gotta love those gate-fold covers, and Suydam uses that to it’s fullest.
In the month of October, what better way to get into the mood of Ghosts, Goblins, and Zombies than with this issue. With Kirkmans expert storytelling and Phillips artwork to keep you looking out your bedroom window well after you’ve finished the issue, Marvel Zombies: Dead Days really does deliver. Blood, guts, our favorite super heroes and villains causing all this havoc… what more could you ask for? Just don’t eat any meat after you read it, that’s all I ask.
Parental Concern: Orange to Red for all the nasty zombie violence.